WH Flacks Bombarded With Questions About Hunter’s Damning WhatsApp Message
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 12: National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby speaks as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre listens during a daily news briefing at the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on June 12, 2023 in Washington, DC. Jean-Pierre held the daily news briefing to answer questions from members of the press. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Reporters peppered Biden administration representatives on Friday after the release of a bombshell WhatsApp message that allegedly shows President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, shaking down a Chinese businessman.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and national security spokesman John Kirby refused to answer numerous questions from reporters on Friday, a day after House Ways and Means Committee chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) released a WhatsApp message obtained by IRS investigators looking into Hunter’s overseas business dealings.

“I’m not going to comment further on this,” Kirby told reporters after he was asked if the message contradicted President Biden’s earlier claims that he and his son did not discuss Hunter’s business dealings. Kirby left the press conference immediately afterward.

Jean-Pierre stepped up to the podium and refused to answer questions on Hunter and the WhatsApp message for nearly four minutes.

“I’m just not going to get into family discussion,” Jean-Pierre said when asked about why Hunter attended a White House state dinner with officials from India on Thursday night.

Later, other reporters echoed Rosen’s question to Kirby, asking Jean-Pierre if she would give a response to the question where the national security spokesman had refused. “Kirby wouldn’t answer James’ question. Are you going to answer the question? It’s not an unreasonable question to ask if the president was involved, as this message seems to suggest, in some sort of coercive conversation for a business dealing by his son. If he wasn’t, maybe you should tell us?” a reporter asked.

Jean-Pierre repeatedly refused to answer the question, referring reporters to the White House counsel’s office and the Department of Justice. She pushed away reporters’ protests over her dodges. “It’s not up to you how I answer the question,” Jean-Pierre said.

Chairman Smith released whistleblower testimonies on Thursday from IRS agents who allege that the Justice Department has interfered in the investigation into Hunter and is suppressing evidence of the first son’s misdeeds. In part of the testimony from IRS Criminal Supervisory Special Agent Gary Shapley, the IRS agent claimed that investigators uncovered a July 30, 2017, WhatsApp message that Hunter sent to Henry Zhao, CEO of Harvest Fund Management.

“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight,” Hunter wrote to Zhao, according to Shapley’s testimony.

Hunter’s attorney did not deny the authenticity of the WhatsApp message in a statement to Fox News, though he did suggest that it was misleading or could be fake.

“Biased and politically-motivated, selective leaks have plagued this matter for years. They are not only irresponsible, they are illegal. A close examination of the document released publicly yesterday by a very biased individual raises serious questions over whether it is what he claims it to be. It is dangerously misleading to make any conclusions or inferences based on this document,” said Hunter’s attorney, Chris Clark. “The DOJ investigation covered a period which was a time of turmoil and addiction for my client.”

“Any verifiable words or actions of my client in the midst of a horrible addiction are solely his own and have no connection to anyone in his family,” Clark added.

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